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President Bio urged to overhaul EOC …inefficient administrati

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo

President Bio, tougher measures are required to contain the COVID-19

Alphonso Manley, Civil Society Activist

 

The Emergency Operation Center (EOC) has become an ineffective and inefficient in managing the fight against the Coronavirus, which kept increasing in the country, a Civil Society Organization, Civil Rights Coalition has observed. The organization together with other Civil Society Organizations is calling on President Maada Bio to overhaul the entire EOC if his government wants to succeed in containing the spread of the COVID-19. “We expected the President to have a Strategic Team to advise him on disease control rather than having it form part of the EOC administration.

What has come out clearly is the fact that most of those at the EOC are devolved staff from Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. “We expected these devolved staff to have moved in with their tools such as vehicles and other essential equipment rather than posing the burden on the government to new equipment at these trying times when the economy is not doing well,” says Alphonso Manley, Executive Director of the Civil Rights Coalition, who pointed out that the current EOC Administration is not innovative enough to contain the virus, which is why the country does not have a downward trend in positive cases. “They are busy telling people to wash their hands and practice social distancing, whilst the virus kept increasing on a daily basis,” he said and added that the country is about to record a thousand positive cases, which calls for immediate action by the President to enable his government succeed in fighting against the pandemic.

The current economic challenge in the country is causing lots of setbacks in the fight against the COVID-19. There have been several hue and cries from health workers and people in quarantine homes about lack of enough resources to manage the Coronavirus crises.

Manley called for the relaxation of the inter-district lockdown, which has not done anything positive in preventing the spread. “Since the inter-district lockdown measure was introduced we started seeing various district recording increased cases. Where are these cases coming from?” he questioned and furthered that people are still traveling from one district to another via military, police, and ambulance vehicles at high transportation cost ranging from Le150, 000 to Le250, 000 on a one way trip.

It could be recalled that the 2018 elections Presidential Candidate for the All People’s Congress Party, Dr. Samura Kamara had advised the government to relax the inter-district lockdown to allow the flow of goods and services like agricultural materials for the current planting season.

The Executive Director of Civil Rights Coalition called for the shifting of the curfew from 9 PM to 12 midnight to avoid chaotic scenes during rush hour. He said those clamoring for transportation to return home from 6 PM to the curfew period do not practice social distancing, which places them at risk to contract the virus.

“These are all happening due to poor management at the EOC. People have no confidence in the current EOC that is not making good use of health facilities,” he claimed and observed that case management is a major problem. “The EOC is making lots of mistakes,” he said, making reference to those who recently returned from Kuwait whose results are questionable. Also, Manley referenced a patient that was announced dead of Coronavirus by the EOC and only for the Spokesman of the Center to be shamefully used to later debunk the false statement. He also cited the death of the former Education Minister, Dr. Minkailu Bah, which the EOC had said tested negative before his death and later became positive after his death. “Press Conferences do not start on time and sometimes we have to wait for the lab technicians to bring in confirmed positive cases results before the announcements are made,” he noted.

Some of the professional workers in the Health Sector have become fed-up with the current EOC and they have joined in the call to overhaul the entire administration. Sources accused some top EOC Officials of fighting for contracts and kickbacks, which is causing an increase in positive cases. They called on the Anti-Corruption Commission to carry out a thorough investigation on allegations of bribery and other forms of corruption in the fight against the COVID 19, adding that strategic planning and management are major issues affecting the EOC operations. Other countries in the world are currently making progress in response to the pandemic whilst Sierra Leone’s cases kept increasing at an alarming rate, a Health Professional observed and reiterated that the more inter-district lockdown the more cases are recorded.

 

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